Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ex-President Calderón: ‘I never made pacts with criminals’

Felipe Calderón has defended his integrity and crime-fighting record as president after the man who was his security minister was convicted on criminal charges in the United States on Tuesday.

A jury in a federal court in New York found Genaro García Luna guilty of taking multi-million-dollar bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for aiding its drug trafficking activities.

Genaro Garcia Luna and Felipe Calderon
Genaro García Luna, left, was Mexico’s security minister during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, right. (Cuartoscuro)

In a response to the verdict that he posted on his Twitter account, Calderón — Mexico’s president from 2006 to 2012 —  described himself as “a man of the law” and said that he respected the rulings of courts that act “in accordance with the law.”

“In my role as president and during my whole life, I’ve always been on the side of justice and the law, and I will always be on the side of victims,” he said in a statement.

“This ruling doesn’t discredit the brave fight of thousands of good police, soldiers, marines, judges and public servants who defended Mexican families from crime,” the ex-president added.

Calderón said that the guilty verdict against García Luna was being used “politically” to attack him, before he went on to outline a range of what he referred to as “facts” about his time in office.

Former Nayarit, Mexico, attorney general Edgar Veytia
Former Nayarit attorney general Edgar Veytia testified at García Luna’s trial that former president Caldéron wanted to protect now-jailed Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. (File photo)

“As president of Mexico, I fought with complete determination against crime … without respite or making a distinction between [criminal] groups,” he said.

“I never negotiated with nor made pacts with criminals. I never used the power vested in me as president to advocate for their interests,” said Calderón, who launched a militarized war on cartels shortly after he was sworn in as president in late 2006.

He also asserted that he was tougher on organized crime than any other president, combatting “all [groups] that threatened Mexico including the so-called Pacific Cartel,” as the Sinaloa Cartel is also known.

“Proof of that is that the majority of the self-confessed criminals that were used as witnesses [at the trial] were pursued, arrested and extradited by my government,” the former National Action Party president said.

Among other “facts” included in his statement were that his government’s security policy “yielded results” and that “the fight for the security of Mexicans wasn’t the responsibility of one person” alone.

At his regular news conference on Wednesday, President López Obrador, a long-term adversary of the ex-president, charged that Calderón’s response didn’t address the “issue in question” – whether he was aware of the criminal collusion of which García Luna was convicted.

“He said that he combatted crime with full force … but … what he omitted is the explanation … about why he appointed García Luna [as security minister] and whether he knew or didn’t know [about his criminal activities],” López Obrador said.

“… We want information, … that’s the explanation we’re waiting for.”

Mexico News Daily 

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